Lao public, private sectors prepare for APEC economic integration

Vientiane – Representatives from government and private sectors met here in Lao capital Vientiane for a crucial knowledge-building seminar to prepare for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration, according to local media Monday.

Held under the Laos Pilot Program for Narrowing the Development Gap towards ASEAN Integration (LPP) initiative, The Second ASEAN Awareness Seminar aimed to boost the preparedness of both government and private sectors prior to ASEAN integration.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, critical focus areas for the seminar included the improvement of regulations, human resource development, administrative institutes, financial systems as well as the standard and quality of goods production.

Laos still has many challenges to face before integration with ASEAN, said ASEAN Department Director General Khiane Phansourivong.

According to Khiane, the ability of Laos to compete with other ASEAN countries is still low. Poor infrastructure for products, a lack of transportation and services as well as an insufficiently strong banking and trading system may put Laos at a disadvantage.

Current preparations to integrate with the AEC are focused on four distinct working areas, increased understanding of regional and international economic connectedness, mechanisms to improve coordination between government sectors and authorities, commercial production studies including support for small and medium enterprises and the improvement of rules and regulations in relation to business operation.

“We also want to develop human resources in each sector from the central to the local levels to participate in international economic integration,” said Khiane. Source: Xinhua